The US military buys a lot of foam ear plugs. Visit any base and you’ll find them under the bleachers at the firing range, in the bottoms of washing machines. They are cheap and effective at making noise less … noisy. … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent invisible I'm roman Mars, do you. It states Marine Corps buys a lot of earplugs visit. Any military base and you'll find under the bleachers at the firing range in the bottom, of washing machines. They are cheap, ineffective at me. He noise, less noisy most here legs reduce noise. By about thirty decibels, that is Mary, Roach author of a bunch of great books. Her latest one is called grunt it's about the science of humans at war, thirty decibels, can be significant. Every three desk. Increased in a loud noise cut in half the amount of time I'm: u can be exposed without risking hearing damage to put that another way and unprotected human ear can spend eight hours a day exposed to eighty five decibels without incurring hearing loss. That's the level a freeway eighty five This is also the level of a crowded restaurant
But if you Go up to one hundred and fifteen decibels. Things like a change. Or a really loud concert, you're safe, exposure. Time is only half a minute before your hearing could be affected, so without earplugs. You should only be exposed to the sound of a chainsaw for about thirty seconds, but with your plugs, you ve got closer to eight hours. In a military situation. A reduction of thirty decibels is especially helpful with a steady grinding background in like say, a Bradley tank clattering over ass or the throb of a black hawk helicopter, but there's a problem with your plugs as the solution on a battlefield. I also I've never seen a marine where earplugs in combat operation
That's gonna want sue. You spent eight years an infant or marine and served a tour of duty and Felicia Iraq, and this is Eric fallen in over Twenty four years of military experience, I've never seen soldiers put a passive, severe plugin and go on a dismallest patrol soldiers. Or using their earplugs, because when they do, they can't here what's happening around them and with unprotected here's a lot of service members or coming home from battle with tonight s wishes ringing. Your ears or hearing loss it's not uncommon. Anyone, especially in the infantry, will pretty much. Tell you that they have hearing loss, an errand, in his buddies, get together and social situations. Everyone speaks alive, louder in a lonely. Get together. Everybody knows who has the worse amount of hearing loss, typically better, get set of friends We know which year they they tend to have hearing loss, and I can tell you two or three friends right asked
my head. I know. Ok, he got hit by an ied on his right side. He I need to speak to his left ear. While Aaron's fellow Marines are naturally understanding about his hearing loss, his wife and kids. Find a challenging. They actually end getting frustrated with bayonets. Sir Pelleas trader try to play off sometimes pretend lost. You heard what they had to say and try to take. Later on in the conversation station figured out later and were asked so you forgot Gittin. Actually forget you just never heard them. When you really think about the adventure, like gun powder, which is really when the military regime an extremely noisy environment. We think about how long we ve lived with that I'm really without a solution. The solution is two percent in your ears, the blue the sound and oh. By the way it doesn't just bought the sound that we want to prevent it blocks all the sound
to a war to the visa has been reporting on what kinds of injuries they treat and tonight is in hearing loss have always been the number one and number two most prevalent injuries to service members, Eric Fowl has been studying how to protect the hearing of service members for a long time he's an archaeologist. A naughty I'll. Just as a medical professionals that is concerned with the otter twice system, Eric used to be the chief ideologists that Walter Reed Medical Center, some ideologists work with patients to give appearing tests and diagnose what kind of hearing disorder they have. But Erics main focus is trying to find solutions. The right protect us machines that not only protect their hearing but enhance their profits. It's in some way correct now works for the company three m designing hearing protection from military use. Is fond of saying that the military has a noise problem, but we have a significant quiet problem
What he means is that service members in combat need your protection that works for them in both environments, because The transition from quiet, too noisy can happen very, very quickly. In a war zone. You have to consider everything, even just walking down the road has a strategy to it. The quota cuts, killing radius of a fragmentation grenade is fifteen feet if troops walked along in a clump like tourists, a single grenade could kill a bunch of them at once, so they try to keep at least fifteen feet between each other on patrols, but the more spread out they are the harder it is to hear one. Another troops in that might walk in the quiet for hours. The only noise be just a little bit of chairing the sound of gravel quantity. And then suddenly This is a video that Eric Fallon likes to show of troops on patrol in Iraq. These troops were just walking along Avon
all of a sudden things got kinetic very quickly, in the video. When the troop comes under fire, all the soldiers fall to the ground, again, shooting it loud and they problem the art wearing hearing protection, but Eric says The damage to their ears isn't the only problem. Their hearing, are in danger and they're here is one of the main things helping them figure out. What to do. Because they're being shot at, doesn't mean that they understand what's happening to them They may not know, and I've been shattered by fifty people are three people was happening to the left of me. What's happening to the right of me: The major tools to figure out what's happening in this situation is radio. With a radio. You can connect to someone who has more of a bird s eye view of the place. This it be another soldier somewhere on a roof. Or someone monitoring from a drone camera communication. Hope. The person on the ground answer all the questions running through
her head in that moment. What do I do? Do I push through the assault die hold in place? Don't wait for the quick reaction force to come and help us do. I call in air support, but its loud there, can probably barely he'll other people around them are saying, let alone but on the radio, and if I can hear the signal, I may be missing the information that I need to make the right decision, and so you're, saying that video there's a young soldierly and on the ground, communicating over the radio and indeed before the video stops, you hear him say I can hear you A point that I try to make when you re use that video is this problem, one of the more important communications that not only that per
some, but his team members will ever have in their lives because their under direct enemies, fire being able to hear the radio and each other is crucial to their survival. Eric believes that he has a solution to this problem. He thinks it service. Members on dismounted combat patrols like the one in that video should be wearing a device called teacups, so TAT Communication and protection systems or t caps our products that are designed to not only deliver hearing protection but to allow you A better ability to hear was happening around you see some maintains and situation awareness ticket. Come in a couple of styles. One style fits inside your ear kind, like a pair of your buds and the other style. It's over your ear and they look like this Your mouth see MIKE where, while operating power tools, both stuff
those are equipped with environmental microphones that pick up the sounds around you and feed them into her ears at levels that your ear jobs can tolerate. In some cases, These products integrate into a radio system so that you can have more seamless to a radio communications. The radio feature you could be talking with a drone operator or communicate with a command centre, and you can act. We hear what they're saying to you, because the device is blocking out other noise and yes, three the company Eric works for cells to caps, but is also an archaeologist whose dedicated his career to protecting the hearing of people in the military, Eriksson, a few of the over the ears style. T caps headsets to try out on high each pair have a power button that allows you to toggle between a few settings. Sex
one thousand six hundred and ninety nine Bi producers, Katie Mingle and SAM Greenspan, tested out that he caps in front of our office, where there's been a bunch of loud construction happening all week and Katie recorded The world sounds like through her tea gaps, so in this clip, Katy and SAM are standing on the sidewalk weren t gaps. Looking like a couple of weirdos, basically people are walking past construction worker is sweeping and despite the fact that their wherein big padded, ass. They could hear it all really well because the environmental microphone are picking up the noise around them, feeding it into their ears.
Let's see I'm talking to Katy using the radio feature on the tickets, now. Someone has started to saw through the concrete nearby, but the tea or attenuating the sound so that salmon Katy can still hear it, but it's much lower volume, but if they take the DE gaps, are but he was not very long, but basically the tea caps. Loud Katy and SAM to communicate through very loud construction voices, while also protect in their ears and when it was quite they were able to hear the environment around them. Soft sounds like sweeping and people talk. Tickets are also being marketed for use in industrial and construction settings just like that. Katy and SAM were standing in the middle of in them military the venue, since the early two thousands, mostly by special operations groups like Navy seals there now
Standard issue even for trip in combat who would be exposed to the kind of noise that can damage your hearing. The convention your forces, do what I think that conventional forces have done for many many years. They just accept that communications gonna be a challenge, an occasion, challenges and hearing loss, but much a the culture of combat that, says when he was a soldier. He acts they wanted hearing loss so the p it would know he had experience. So if you didn't have a degree of hearing loss. It was obvious that you are one of the new guys You have not really been around much noise near really have not fired that many artillery rounds downrange. Whilst soldiers are actively serving. They do have to undergo fairly comprehensive hearing tests and periodic checkups. These tests are administered by an archaeologist, but the results of those tests get passed on. You re commander, and he or she decides what to do with them.
And the soldier who is found to have degraded hearing often won't be taken out of their position, we're just so across to finding work rounds with hearing loss, you sometimes find soldiers that have a significant degree of hearing loss, but Their unit. Leadership may be so dependent on that person that they also want that person to remain where they are. I look forward to the day when we put as much this is on maintaining good hearing, as we do good vision, Erica found that in order to get the military interested in protecting people's hearing he's had to sell at different When I was a young officer, When I would go on to a unit briefing, I would actually talk about how much money the veal spends on hearing loss, because I thought that was pretty significant, But I didn't really work. It's not commanders job to be concerned about the vs spends on hearing loss. But Eric talk to unit commanders he had to
the argument tactical. He had to explain that when people can here. They can be more effective on the battlefield. This points to a larger disconnect between the Department of Defense, which is tasked with defending the nation and the vizier, which provides healthcare to veterans if the d is given a choice between spending their money on bombs or hearing protection, it's not hard to see why they might choose to kick the can to the better, but to defend the Department of defense. They have made an effort in the last couple of decades to do better, there's more testing than there used to be, and in two thousand nine they established the hearing centre of excellence, which researchers hearing loss and advocates for more protection. This invisible, Andrea hearing loss is very sick, against the big part of our job is to advocating and build awareness. That's colonel. My packer he's director of the hearing centre of excellence, and he says yeah teacups are great but they're not perfect. All hearing protection has some fallibility
you're out on a hot mission in the desert, and you have those your most down over your ears. They they are hot, Soldiers might remove them and then be unprotected when they need it. Other arguments, He kept. They are this extra thing to carry and they have to be charge and if they break their expensive to replace, not everybody needs separating hundreds Our technical radio device, There are some solutions in between t caps and the cheapest foam. Earplugs there's, what's called, whole dependent earplugs that are made to protect against high impulse noises light weapons fire, while allowing other environmental noise is to pass through. But Eric and others. We spoke to said that these earplugs still make it difficult to hear the environment around you for that. A lot of people will ought not to wear them with it. He caps, are the solution for all combat troops or not. It's worth saying that Colonel Packer and Eric fell in their basically on the same side about this and they're, both working. Sometimes
together to find a solution to one of the oldest most prevalent and most problems by the military Ninety nine percent invisible was reported this week by Mary Roche and produced by Katy mingle with the waning hall Shriek Youssef and it could surely Kirk calls dead same Greenspan. Every truffle men and me roman Mars. This episode was based off a chapter of Mary Roaches, excellent, best selling book grunt the curious science of humans at war. I cannot recommend her books enough there, the As time you can have learning weird things about science, we are.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.